“Blame game” over as no-fault divorce comes into force. What does it mean for translators?

“Blame game” over as no-fault divorce comes into force. What does it mean for translators?

Effective from April 2022 and introducing so-called no-fault divorce, the Divorce, Dissolution and Separation Act 2020 is arguably the biggest reform of divorce laws in England and Wales since the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973. No matter how picture-perfect your relationship may be, if you are a translator, and especially if you translate into English, the new act affects you because it brings new terminology. And trust me, as a professional translator, the last thing you want to do is use outdated terminology.

Parties to the proceedings

Until April 2022, the spouse that filed for a divorce was called the petitioner. Nowadays, he or she would be called the applicant. Similarly, one no longer files a petition but an application. If only one spouse files an application, s/he can be referred to as the sole applicant. And if an application is put in by both spouses, we talk about joint applicants.

Decisions in court proceedings

The new legislation ups the ante when it comes to simplifying legal English terminology and making it more accessible to laymen and laywomen. A decree nisi (from Latin nisi unless) is now a conditional order. A decree absolute becomes a final order. A decree of divorce is now called a divorce order. And a decree of judicial separation is now a judicial separation order.

Staying up to date is a part of your professionalism

As existing laws and terminology are amended all the time and in both the target language and source language jurisdiction(s), it definitely pays off to stay informed. If you continue using the word petitioner, or perhaps even claimant or plaintiff, you probably will be understood and a solicitor may even shrug it off (for now), but it does not make a good impression. And it makes an even worse impression if, as an English-Czech translator, you continue using navrhovatel/odpůrce (petitioner/respondent) or žalobce/žalovaný (claimant/defendant) for the parties to the proceedings, although the right term has been manžel/ka (spouse) since January 1, 2014!

Do you require professional translation of your divorce order? Or perhaps another important document? Contact me now for a quote or to ask me a question.

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